Banh Mi sandwiches have such a unique flavor profile, & are so delicious and refreshing. They have such a specific taste, that generally is hard to recreate, even in a non vegan way. I figured I would take a go at creating my own vegan version of a banh mi sandwich, so that myself & other vegans would be able to enjoy this delicious sandwich once again! The components of our vegan banh mi are; grilled tempeh, mushroom & ginger pate, pickled daikon, carrot, cucumber, and red onion, sriracha lime aioli, fresh cilantro, and fresh jalapeno. We also used a rising hearts bakery seeded sorghum baguette as the roll to finish off this amazing sandwich.
For your pickled vegetables, you’ll need an equal mix of daikon, red onion, carrots, and cucumber. Julienne your vegetables, so they are all in equal sized matchsticks. While you’re chopping those, it’s a good time to start heating up your pickling brine. For that you’ll need some rice wine vinegar, water, cane sugar, salt, fennel seeds, whole lemongrass, and whole cloves. Mix them together in a pot until the sugar is dissolved, and the liquid is warm. Once your brine is ready, pour it over your vegetables and toss to combine. Place some plastic wrap tightly around your bowl, and let those vegetables pickle! The longer you let them sit, the better they will taste. I generally leave mine to pickle overnight, at a bare minimum, but have also left them in there for 3-4 days and they were delicious!
For the mushroom pate, you’ll only need a few ingredients. Mushrooms, fresh ginger & lemongrass, olive oil, and salt. Heat up your olive oil, with the lemongrass and ginger over a medium-low flame, for about 15 minutes to allow the oil to infuse with the ginger & lemongrass. While thats infusing, roughly chop your mushrooms. You can use any kind of mushroom you’d like, but we used crimini since its what we had on hand. I would stick with a brown mushroom though, not a white button or anything like that. Crimini, portabello, shiitake, maitake, etc. would all be great for this pate. Once you have them all roughly chopped up, add them to your pan and raise the heat to a medium flame, and season them with salt. Once they are fully cooked through and wilted, remove your lemongrass stalk & your ginger chunk, and place all of the oil & mushrooms in a blender. Blend them up until they form a nice paste. This pate will give an extra beefy / earthy flavor to our banh mi, and will help to mellow out some of the spicier flavors.
For the “meat” aspect of our banh mi, we are going to use organic, non-GMO tempeh. Tempeh is a fermented soy product, that has a really nutty flavor & firm texture that mimics meat. We marinated our tempeh in a mixture of tamari, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and chili paste. The tempeh can really be marinated for however long you want, but around 30 minutes is the sweet spot for this recipe. After your tempeh has finished marinading, heat up your grill pan (or outdoor grill), to a decently hot heat. Add your tempeh and allow it to get nice grill marks on both sides. A few minutes before its done, pour some of your marinade over the top to create a nice glaze on the tempeh. You’ll want to cook your tempeh for about 10 minutes, just to make sure its heated through.
I always like to have some kind of sauce on sandwiches, & this is totally optional, but I think this sriracha lime aioli really works well with the flavors of the banh mi. For this you just simply need to whisk together some vegan mayo, sriracha, lime zest, lime juice, & salt. This also stores really well in the fridge, so you can make a large batch to keep for other recipes!
Now for my favorite part, assembling the sandwich! You’ll want to toast your roll slightly, just so it has a nice crunch when you bite into the sandwich. On the bottom side of the roll, spread your mushroom pate, then add some of your pickled veggies, your grill tempeh, and top with fresh cilantro & jalapeno slices. On the top side of your roll, spread some of your sriracha lime aioli, and place the roll on top of your sandwich. Then you’re done! Sticking a sandwich pick into each half definitely helps make this guy a bit easier to eat. I really love the flavor of this banh mi because its sweet, spicy, tangy, pickle-y, and savory all at the same time, and it has those really bright asian flavors.
- 10-15 crimini mushrooms
- 1 inch cube of fresh ginger
- 1 lemongrass stalk
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp pink himalayan salt
- 1/2 daikon
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 cucumber
- 3 carrots
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 2 tbs pink himalayan salt
- 1 tbs fennel seeds
- 1 tbs whole cloves
- 1 inch lemongrass stalk
- 1-2 blocks original tempeh
- 3/4 cup tamari
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbs chili paste
Sriracha Lime Aioli:
- 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 2-4 tbs sriracha (depending how spicy you want it)
- zest & juice of 1/2 a lime
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Rising hearts bakery seeded sorghum baguette
- Fresh jalapeno
- Fresh cilantro
- For your pickled veggies, heat all the liquid / spice ingredients in a pot until the sugar is dissolved / brine is warm. While that’s heating, julienne your vegetables & transfer to a bowl. Once your brine is ready, pour over the veggies, and put a tight piece of plastic wrap over the top. Marinade for as long as possible, but no more than 72 hours.
- For your mushroom pate, add your olive oil, ginger, & lemongrass to a skillet. Heat over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes so the oil can infuse with the aromatics. Roughly chop your mushrooms & add them to the skillet. Cook down until they are browned and cooked through, remove your ginger & lemongrass from the pan, and blend the mushrooms in your blender to form a smooth paste.
- For the tempeh mix all of your ingredients together, chop / slice the tempeh to your desired thickness, and add to the marinade. Let that sit for about 30 minutes, then heat up your grill pan, and grill your tempeh. Let it get grill marks on all sides, and heat completely through. A few minutes before its finished, pour some of your marinade on top to create a thick glaze on your tempeh.
- For the sriracha lime aioli, simply mix all of the ingredients together until combined. This will last in your fridge for a few weeks
- Slice your fresh jalapeno into thin slices for the sandwich, as well as remove some cilantro leaves from the stems.
- You also can toast your roll under the broiler for a few minutes to give it a nice crunch.
- After every component is ready to go, layer your mushroom pate, pickled veggies, tempeh, fresh cilantro / jalapeno, & sriracha lime aioli together in between your roll, serve, & enjoy!